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The Ballot Box (@NashvilleScene)

The Nashville Scene Reader’s Poll is about to close (on Sept 12) and we thought that we would submit  our open ballot for our favorites in Nashville this year.  Here is a list of what twentyfive:thirtyfive chose for Food and Drink and why. (Vote Here)


Original Menu: The Catbird Seat – as you will see on our list, The Catbird Seat has raised the bar on fine dining in Nashville. Nobody in town is doing anything remotely close to what they are doing here in creativity and originality – both in food and drink. For as much press as it has gotten we feel that it may still be under appreciated because it is Nashville and not one of the bigger food cities like Chicago or San Francisco.

Bagel: Bagel Face Bakery – we love these small, dense and nicely salted bagels. Available at multiple coffee shops (see the link) and their own store in East Nashville

Bar that Makes You Feel like You are Not in Nashville: The Patterson House – the first and still the best speakeasy in Nashville. The drinks here rival any of the cocktail bars that we have been to throughout the country

Barbecue: Edley’s Bar-B-Que – coming here from Austin, we had been quite disappointed in the barbecue scene in Nashville (have you ever been to Franklin Barbecue!?!?!) until Edley’s showed up. Their brisket sandwich (when you can get it at lunch before it dries out) is easily the best brisket in town. The sausage and cheese plate is also great. (Our suggestion for Edley’s to help make it better – Table Service – the place can be quite a cluster when it is busy and you have to go to the bar separately if you want a beer or cocktail. Often your food will come out before you even have a table or a beer)

Bread: Silke’s Old World Breads – these delicious artisan breads are used in the sandwiches at Mitchell’s Delicatessen as well as at Marche. You can also buy their breads at The Turnip Truck and Marche.

Burger: M.L.Rose – it was a tough call between this burger, the Local Burger from Fido and The Pharmacy Burger at Pharmacy, but we decided to go with this excellent version of a straightforward traditional cheeseburger this year.

Cheap Eats: McDougal’s Chicken Fingers and Wings – nothing fancy about the decor here, just a hodge-podge of 70’s album covers and old license plates but their chicken fingers and fries never disappoint.  We also love the anytime 2-for-1 beers.  This is our go-to meal for Saturday College Football.

Chef: Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat) – these two have national James Beard award winning-type talent and brought a much needed swagger to the dining scene in Nashville . We just got back from Chicago and could envision them being this city’s version of Paul Kahan (Blackbird, avec, Violet Hour, Publican, Big Star).

Coffeehouse: Barista Parlor – this new East Nashville coffeehouse edged out Crema this year for it’s prime location in East Nashville, fantastic decor, great selection of beans from some of the best roasters in the world, tasty breakfast offerings featuring Porter Road Butcher meats and prices that seem just a bit lower than Crema’s.

Delicatessen: Mitchell’s Delicatessen – we live a couple hundred yards from an artisan sandwich shop in 12South but we drive the 10 miles for these amazing East Nashville sandwiches regularly.  Trust us, they are worth the drive. The Turkey Avocado and Bacon, B.L.T. and Banh Mi are some of the best versions of these we’ve had.

Fish Taco: mas tacos por favor – most folks by now have seen the mas tacos truck but it seems like not that many people know of their East Nashville restaurant. Check their menu on Twitter to see what they are serving for the day but their Fish Tacos are usually on Fridays and are delicious (and only $3!)

French Fries:  M.L. Rose (Loaded Waffle Fries) – we aren’t usually fans of waffle fries but the ones here come covered with cheese, bacon and green onion. A guilty pleasure of ours.

Hot Chicken: Prince’s Hot Chicken – we’ve tried the imitators, but the chicken here really does taste a lot better (and hotter). We think it may be that they also marinade the chicken in the hot sauce too so that it isn’t just hot on the crust. We wish they weren’t so far away but our bodies thank us that it is.

Gelato/Ice Cream: Legato Gelato – the Banana Gelato here was our food obsession of Summer 2012. The Graham Cracker, Burnt Sugar, Cream Cheese and Coffee flavors weren’t too far behind. One of our favorite places in town.

New Restaurant: The Catbird Seat – it is hard to believe that it just opened up last October based on the national press it has received. Expect to hear much much more.

Original Drink: The Catbird Seat – what Beverage Director Jane Lopes is doing with the drink pairings is equally as impressive as what the chefs are doing with the food. You could put almost any of her original creations and infused drinks on this list.

Patio: Pharmacy Burger Parlor – the beer garden here is easily the best patio in town, not that every one else doesn’t already know this based on the lines.

Romantic Dinner: Margot Cafe – still our favorite place to go to for a romantic dinner. We love the exposed brick and quaint yet not crowded vibe. We also love to see what Chef Margot comes up with for her ever changing Daily Menu.

Restaurant: The Catbird Seat – our most memorable dining experience last year and we are eagerly awaiting our next chance to get back. Most people would find it hard to believe, but it is truly a great food value at $100 per person. If you got this quality of food and dining experience in NYC, Chicago or Napa you would easily pay 2-3 times as much!

Service in a Restaurant: The Catbird Seat – it is impossible to top being able to interact with and being served by the two chefs and Beverage Director Jane Lopes.

Specialty/Grocery Store: Lazzaroli Pasta – great husband and wife Italian specialty store in Germantown. We love the Fresh Mozzarella on Saturday and a great place to pick up some pasta and sauce for restaurant quality Italian easily warmed up at home.

Steakhouse: Kayne Prime – original, local steakhouse with great decor. The main gripe online seems to be the prices, but to us they seem on par with other chain steakhouses (Ruth Chris, Fleming’s) and is a much tastier choice.

Sub Sandwich: Savarino’s Cucina (Ed Pontieri sandwich) – this Italian meats sandwich is one of our favorite go to’s for a good sub sandwich

Sunday Brunch: Marche – one of the best and most consistently great meals in Nashville is brunch at Marche.  Never disappointing..worth the wait.

Thai: The Smiling Elephant – the freshness of the ingredients separates this 8th Avenue Thai restaurant from others. A little more pricey than it’s competition, but we feel that it is worth it.

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